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North Eastern MPs condemn Ethiopia's seaport lease in Somaliland

Members of Parliament from North Eastern region from left, Abdikadir Mohamed (Lagdera), Adan Keynan (Eldas), Maalim Farah (Dadaab) and Farah Yakub (Fafi) during a press conference in Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

 Members of Parliament from the North-Eastern region have called for the immediate cancellation of a deal signed between Ethiopia and the self-declared republic of Somaliland.

The deal, which was struck earlier this year, grants Ethiopia a 50-year lease of a 20-kilometre stretch of seaport access in Somaliland, in exchange for Ethiopia’s support for Somaliland’s quest for international recognition.

However, the MPs, led by Eldas MP Adan Keynan, have termed the deal a “blatant provocation” and a violation of Somalia’s territorial integrity and political independence.

They have urged the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the United Nations to intervene and ensure the termination of the deal.

They have also expressed concern that Ethiopia’s move will undermine the relations between the countries in the region, and fuel instability in the Horn of Africa.

“From the outset, we unequivocally state that the Ethiopian Government’s action to enter into an agreement and effectively establish direct international relations with a region of Somalia is in breach of the territorial integrity and abuse of the political independence of the State of Somalia,” Keynan said.

“Ethiopia is a signatory to the UN Charter, the African Union Constitutive Act, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and other international treaties that regulate conduct and relations between nations. As such, we find it bizarre that it has chosen to act unconscientiously.”

 The MPs issued a statement in Parliament on Thursday, January 4, accusing Ethiopia of violating the United Nations charter.They said their stance on the matter was aimed at preventing the historical spillover of chaos, conflict, and insecurity in the Horn of Africa region, and was in the spirit of good neighbourliness, given the ethnic and cultural ties between the people of North Eastern Kenya and Somalia, as well as the good relations between Kenya and Somalia

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